Dining room ideas – 51 ways with decor and furniture

Dining room ideas are making a comeback as we look for spaces to gather with family and friends; these are the best

Dining room ideas - three dining rooms
(Image credit: Rapture & Wright / Neptune / Heidi Caillier/Haris Kenjar)

Dining room ideas should be at the forefront of your home ideas, especially if you are a keen entertainer. Our elegant dining room decorating solutions and expert advice are here to inspire you, whether you're designing a formal entertaining space or creating a distinct zone within an open-plan layout.

Everyone knows the best conversations happen over a meal, whether it is with family, a partner, or friends, so having somewhere to sit and eat is an important element to consider when designing your home.

These dining rooms have been designed with both practicality and looks in mind – comfortable and welcoming, they will cater to both dinner parties and every day dining for the family, even if you only have a small dining room

Dining room ideas

From colorful banqueting rooms to open-plan farmhouse kitchens, these dining room ideas will help you dream up a space that's as beautiful to look at as it is relaxing to eat in. 

1. Choose a moody palette

Dining room with navy walls and leather chairs

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

For a sense of understated luxury, choose a moody palette for your dining room paint ideas, with walls painted in deep blues or greens. Keeping the ceiling a bright white stops the look from becoming too dark, but if you prefer a more intimate, enveloping look then consider painting the ceiling the same deep color as the walls. 

Take inspiration from traditional dining rooms in gentlemen's clubs by introducing leather chairs to add texture to the space, but give the style a modern twist with a contemporary shape.

2. Look to an earthy palette

Dining room with terracotta walls

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Following dining room trends is one thing but it's vital the space feels welcoming.The shade you choose to envelope your dining space in can have a greater effect than just looking pretty. ‘Earthy pigments of terracotta provide an authentic connection to nature,’ says Melanie Archer Designer at John Lewis (opens in new tab)

‘This restorative earth inspired color is comforting and inviting. Terracotta evokes feelings of sociability, connection, interaction and happiness creating the perfect atmosphere for entertaining.’ 

A matching blind completes the look, but make sure to layer with a neutral dining room curtain ideas, both to create a feeling of warmth for winter, and to add a contemporary finish.

3. Work with the history of your home

Dining room with vintage wallpaper and chairs, by Heidi Caillier

(Image credit: Heidi Caillier/Haris Kenjar )

This soft vintage-style dining room perfectly reflects the home it lives in: a 1920s Tudor-style home, owned and decorated by interior designer Heidi Caillier (opens in new tab)

‘The William Morris wallpaper feels cozy and helps make a room that can be underutilized feel like a space you want to spend time,’ says Heidi. 

Dining room wallpaper ideas aside, touches like the displaying china on the wall feel at home here – play around with similar crockery or even mirrors. Vintage style furniture will set the scheme off, but if you can buy original do; it’s more sustainable and, as Heidi says about the table, ‘it’s a really great choice for families with young kids because it can handle a lot of wear and tear.’

4. Add an upholstered bench

Dining room with upholstered bench Turner Pocock

(Image credit: Turner Pocock/Alexander James)

Whether you love entertaining, or use the dining table as an everyday space, consider opting for banquette seating ideas rather than chairs for ultimate flexibility. 

‘We love to use upholstered benches around dining tables, and we are careful to use practical finishes like acrylic performance fabrics or faux leathers to protect against sticky fingers,’ says Emma Pocock, co-founder, Turner Pocock (opens in new tab)

‘The feel of upholstered benching is so much more versatile, becoming a place to chat, sit and do schoolwork or linger with a drink after dinner.’ 

Add extra interest with contrasting seat pads to the back rest, or to those on the dining chairs, and consider eye-catching dining room wall ideas above the banquette, such as a gallery wall.

5. Layer with textiles

Dining room ideas exposed brick wall upholstered chairs

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

Make the dining table the focal point of the room by opting for an extra large, circular style, which also lends itself for easier conversation during a meal. 

Dining room lighting ideas, such as a statement chandelier or pendant hung directly above the center of the table further directs the eye straight to the table. 

To ensure such a classic look sits at home happily in a country home, make sure to layer up textures which add a rustic contrast – like the exposed brick work and tastefully upholstered dining chairs in this design from Sophie Head Interiors. (opens in new tab)

6. Zone your dining space

Dining room with a round table in a broken plan room

(Image credit: Mel Yates)

In smaller properties it may seem tricky to add a stand alone dining room. To delineate the dining area without a separate room, go the route of ‘broken-plan living rooms’, with either glass doors or, as here, with architecture visually separating the spaces without interrupting the flow of the room and the light. 

Extending dining tables are a great choice as you can stick to a more compact look whenever you don’t have guests around. To stretch space further, ensure good, built-in dining room storage ideas and err on the side of caution with color; white dining room ideas will make your room feel larger and brighter. 

7. Soften a dining room addition

Dining room in a Sims Hilditch extension with wicker chairs

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

‘When designing a dining space in an addition, I recommend incorporating a skylight into the ceiling paired with solid timber, as opposed to a fully glazed roof,’ advises Emma Sims Hilditch, founder and creative director of Sims Hilditch (opens in new tab)

‘This creates a lovely soft light which falls onto the table and seating area, without making the space too hot. If the addition has a view out onto the backyard then I advise placing the table so that guests can soak up the natural surroundings while they enjoy a delicious meal.'

'In terms of lighting a dining room, why not make a statement with large pendant lighting or a chandelier, drawing the eye upwards and adding drama to the space? You might also consider adding wall lighting to create a cozy and moody atmosphere as the evening draws in and the natural light dies.’

8. Use the seasons to dictate your design

green wicker chairs in classical designed pink dining room

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

In recent years, dining rooms and dining table decor ideas have become more occasional spaces, primarily reserved for hosting dinner parties. In these rooms, which are defined by their entertaining role, you can afford to be more playful and bold with your interior schemes. This pretty dining room draws on classical architecture combining Roman-style columns and detailing with Regency inspired pink walls and would make for an impressive backdrop for any celebration. Green wicker chairs add a pop of color and would look great as part of any naturally inspired scheme.

When hosting dinner parties, it is important that your dining room ideas do not stagnate; elements should change between each event to ensure that the space always feels fresh and new. 

Soft furnishings are a great way to refresh your interiors and can be updated in response to the seasons. This design by Birdie Fortescue (opens in new tab) is full of summer decor ideas; from the floral tablecloth and vases of blooms through to the tropical trees which foster an air of privacy, it is the perfect setting for a summer dinner party.

9. Factor storage into your interior design

dining room with long dining table and chairs in front of a built in bookshelf

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

Storage ideas and décor are key considerations in every room, but they are sometimes overlooked as part of dining room ideas. In this formal space, built-in cabinetry creates a warm and welcoming backdrop, displaying treasured possessions and family photographs alongside candles and other decorative pieces. 

However, when faced with rows of empty shelving it can be a challenge to work out where to begin. Before committing, research how to style a bookcase for top tips on curating the perfect display to bring personality into your dining room ideas.

If looking for bookshelf ideas for an unusually shaped alcove or wall, then it's important that you know how to commission bespoke joinery as this will help you to make the best use of the space available.

dining room with gallery wall of mirrors

(Image credit: Iben & Niels Ahlberg)

This eye catching design takes the practical benefits of decorating with mirrors to the next level. By employing the tenants of gallery wall ideas, these mirrors have been treated as though they are works of art, with their shapes and patinas being as much a feature as their reflective qualities. White walls, simple panelling below the dado rail and warm wooden table and chairs helps to balance the look and prevent the room from looking top heavy.

11. Be inspired by coastal color palettes for a laid-back look

coastal inspired dining room

(Image credit: Neptune)

Not every dining space is reserved for hosting lavish dinner parties, for many it is a family space, where everyone gathers together at meal times to share their stories of the day. 

When designing a family dining room, you want to create a laid-back space in which all the family can feel comfortable. In this room designed by Neptune (opens in new tab), white tongue and groove panelling creates a textural backdrop, elongating the height of the room and helping to increase the natural light. Wooden flooring laid in the same direction as the wall paneling helps to lengthen the room and creates a cohesive look. A simple navy blue and white color scheme with weathered wooden accents channels coastal decor ideas, harkening back to family holidays by the sea.

12. Create a dining room that works for all occasions

dining room with patterned wallpaper and wooden furniture

(Image credit: Georgia Zikas)

When designing a dining room, you need to not only think about how it will work for day to day family meals but also how it will fair when it comes to larger celebrations. An extending dining table is a great way to transform your room from hosting family dinners to lavish dinner parties, making sure there's enough seats around the table for everyone to feel welcome. 

'We wanted to emphasize the original charm of the house in this dining room and mix both contemporary yet traditional design elements. The wallcovering is dainty yet interesting, but not too overdone, especially when tempered with the millwork. Our client had several family heirlooms and antiques so we sought to integrate those pieces into the space in a fresh way, as seen here with this beautiful cherry wood dining set accented with a more modern, polished nickel chandelier. The result is traditional with a twist, which is a great way to make a French country aesthetic work for today's way of living,' says Georgia Zikas, founder at Georgia Zikas Design (opens in new tab).

13. Don’t be afraid of color 

A dining room idea with blue velvet dining sofa, green velvet upholstered chairs and Gucci wallpaper with teal, pink and gold print

(Image credit: Liz Caan/Eric Roth)

Even if your dining room is a formal space, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some serious fun with your color palette. 

A room that is used for special occasions cries out for a maximalist approach to color, as demonstrated in this space, where color bursts from every corner of the small dining room. The home of designer Liz Caan (opens in new tab), the space features a teal velvet dining sofa is paired with lime green upholstered chairs, while the Gucci wallpaper introduces gold and pink accents, echoed in the mauve table lamps. 

For some colorful inspiration, explore our yellow dining room ideas.

14. Mix and match styles for a personal touch 

A dining room with a large wooden table, basket metal chairs, abstract art and a contemporary candle chandelier

(Image credit: Sarah Stacey Interior Design/Molly Culver)

Chiefly entertaining guests, dining rooms are spaces where you have the chance to really showcase your personality to visitors. Make it unique by pulling together your favorite pieces, regardless of era or style. In this dining room by designer Sarah Stacey (opens in new tab), white walls make for a chic backdrop to a monolithic oak table, abstract artwork on the walls, modern metal chairs, a candle chandelier with a contemporary twist, a Persian-style rug and blown glass vases heading up the dining table decor ideas. 

15. Keep it light and bright with Scandi style

A dining room idea with white walls, Scandi-style dining table and chairs, blue and red rug and black sputnik chandelier

(Image credit: Ginny Macdonald/Sara Tramp)

For modern dining room ideas, look to Scandinavia for inspiration. Designer Ginny Macdonald (opens in new tab) looked to northern European design when planning this open-plan kitchen and dining space, including direct inspiration from Noma chef Rene Redzepi’s personal kitchen in Copenhagen. In the dining room, a light and bright approach sees white walls laced with white oak and teak furniture, and punctuated with black accents in the chairs and sputnik chandelier. Color is applied deftly and subtly through soft furnishings including a woven rug.

16. Play with scale 

Dining room ideas - Dining room - Scale in interior design

(Image credit: Future/Chris Everard)

A dining room is a good space to play with scale in interior design, particularly when it comes to mixing patterns in a room in different proportions.

'When incorporating pattern into your dining room – you also need to take into account scale. Scale is important and can really help pull an idea together, the main thing being to mix the scales from large to small,' says designer Charlotte Gaisford (opens in new tab). 'Within the scale idea you also need to think about what type of pattern you want to use.'

17. Frame the dining table with art

Dining room with traditional chairs, tables and colorful art

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

‘The dining room has become the social hub of the home,' explains interior designer, Emma Sims Hilditch. 'Opt for natural tones such as soft browns, gentle greys and creamy nudes which serve as a beautiful base for interchangeable soft furnishings. Try adding bright patterned cushions to a dining room chair, or colorful artwork to a bare wall.' In this room, gray dining room ideas have been warmed up by brown wooden furniture and an abstract artwork filled with fiery oranges and reds. 

18. Set a stylish table

Dining room with large round table and wood floor

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

When working out how to dress a dining table, choose a centerpiece that’s either lower than or well above the eyeline, as visual communication is essential at dinner parties. ‘Almost anything can work, from floral arrangements to existing ornaments, but ensure there’s a common theme, such as animals or birds,’ advises Clifford Williams, Display Manager at Thomas Goode (opens in new tab). ‘Keep the focus on the table with candlesticks, votives and low-level background lighting.’

19. Create a comforting environment with earthy pinks 

A dining room idea with earthy blush pink walls, abstract art on the walls and low tiled glass pendant bar light over dark brown table

(Image credit: Original BTC)

When it comes to dining room color ideas, the world really is your oyster – depending on the formality of the space you have licence to be dramatic, soft or somewhere in between. For a statement color that soothes rather than invigorates, consider on trend earthy pinks. Their comforting nature and maternal connotations provide a cozy environment for dining, imparting a sense of nourishment and tender loving care unto guests. 

20. Give your guests a view

A dining room idea with large open plan kitchen, living and dining areas with large windows and blu sofa and chairs

(Image credit: Cherie Lee Interiors )

When planning an open plan kitchen, dining and living space, getting the location right for each of your ‘zones’ is crucial to its success. If you have a large windowed area like in this example, consider making it the backdrop for dinners with friends, and giving your guests a view that harnesses many of the benefits of outdoor dining. Harness natural light for breakfast too – there’s no better way to start the day. 

21. Create a cocooning feeling with densely patterned wallpaper 

A dining room idea with blue William Morris print wallpaper, large dark wooden sideboard and light wooden dining table with rattan chairs

(Image credit: Murphy Deesign)

Wallpaper is practically made for dining rooms – for a statement pattern that helps make a grand room feel intimate, opt for a smaller format print. While large prints will add dynamism to a small space, intricate motifs used generously will bring the walls inwards. In this modern rustic dining room by Murphy Deesign (opens in new tab), a William Morris print with a dark blue base covers all four walls of the large space, helping it feel cozier.

22. Introduce a splash of color into a country dining room for a touch of modernity

natural dining room scheme with bright red chair

Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning)

If the neutral dining room ideas you have been browsing have lacked a spark, add a sprinkling of bright primary colors and create a statement with a single piece in a vivid hue. 

Here, a brightly painted chair delivers drama and works as a wonderful focal point, great for red dining room ideas. The block of color in the yellow artwork and glossy finish of the red chair bring an unexpected extra dimension and vibrancy to the calm, natural, country feel of this relaxed dining space. 

23. Add checkerboard flooring for a smart monochrome look 

Monochrome dining scheme with checkerboard flooring

Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning)

A chic, black and white checkerboard flooring adds impact to a calm, neutral scheme. The monochrome palette combined with warm wooden furniture creates an inviting dining room. 

Not only do classic black and white floor tiles add an effortlessly sophisticated feel to a room, but these vinyl tiles are a practical and fuss free option for a much used family space. This flooring choice has enduring appeal and will never go out of style. 

24. Create a sense of occasion with dramatic furnishings

Dining room ideas with wall mural and wooden table and chairs

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Just two well-chosen elements – the wall mural and lighting fitting – give this dining room huge impact. The monotone color scheme is enlivened – and made more glamorous – with the touches of gold, which also warm the otherwise cool space. Upholstered chairs add a luxurious feeling of comfort, which invites diners to linger, while the round table enhances sociability.

25. Add a round table for a sociable dining room

Dining room with round table and pendant light

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

Create a sociable and relaxing atmosphere in your dining room with a circular table; it’s less formal, plus you can squeeze in extra chairs and stools if need be. And when you’re finished entertaining? You can tuck the table away in a corner – making it the perfect choice for a small dining room.

26. Make room for elegant, comfortable dining in a kitchen

Dining room with corner table and colorful chairs

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Even very small spaces can often accommodate kitchen diner ideas. In a compact kitchen, consider using banquette seating, fitted into a corner or even on one side of an island, to create a cozy dining spot.

27. Build a dining area into a bay window to maximize space

Dining room ideas with window seat and armless chairs

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

In living areas, try using the space creatively: bay window ideas can incorporate window seating, built-in or not, combined with a table for impromptu dining, while extendable tables can provide multi-functional space.

28. Pick a moody shade for evening-only dining rooms

Dining room, decorating with grey

(Image credit: Future/Polly Wreford)

If you're looking for dining room ideas for spaces that are really only used in the 9, you can dare to go darker. A room that's lit by candlelight, when painted in a moody shade, will feel so much more intimate and atmosphere than one that's a pale shade. Here, the texture and colors of the rug make this blue dining room feel more inviting and warmer – an important factor if you are decorating with a cool tone. 

29. Create a fun feel for a family dining room

Dining room with map on the wall and table

(Image credit: Future / Carolyn Barber)

A decorative oilcloth makes a practical alternative to a traditional fabric tablecloth; this striking world map design has been stapled into place for a neat finish. Add an old school map on the wall to continue the cartographic theme.

30. Pick dining furniture in wood for warmth

Dining room with antique table, chairs and cabinet

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

If you want a dining table but don’t have space for a large traditional style, why not choose a small, round, bistro one? It will be a perfect place to sit and have your morning coffee and croissant, as well as adding a little Parisian chic to a previously unused corner of your small dining room.

31. Be bold with your decor

Dining room with wallpapered walls

(Image credit: Rapture & Wright)

If yours is a separate dining room, it is the perfect opportunity to consider bold dining room color schemes or decorative scheme that might be overwhelming in a living space you use all the time. A stand-out wallpaper will create an exuberant space, as will a boldly painted piece of furniture – or a beautiful, curvaceous piece, such as the dining table in this beautiful room by Rapture & Wright at The Fabric Collective (opens in new tab).

32. Create a window seat banquette for a relaxed look

Dining room with window seat and colored glassware

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

Make the most of every nook, and the architectural features of your home, by utilising a window seat as dining seating. The built-in bench on one side of the table will save space, as they are flush with the wall. To avoid the set-up looking too unbalanced, choose non-bulky folding chairs for the side opposite the window in your farmhouse dining room.

33. Hang a feature light over the dining table

Dining room ideas with wooden table and patterned chairs

(Image credit: Future / Jody Stewart)

It is worth devising lighting schemes early on, allowing for functional down lighters, and more decorative fittings. An oversized light suspended above a dining table helps to delineate the space. Ask your electrician to wire zones on different circuits so you can adjust the mood. Wherever possible, try to accentuate natural light. If you have a double-height space or, a single-storey extension, consider installing skylights or a roof lantern.

34. Ensure light shed on the table is warm

Dining room with farmhouse table and black pendant lights

(Image credit: Future / Jody Stewart)

There’s nothing like a large table to create a warm, friendly and often lively atmosphere in the kitchen. However, layout will be dictated to some extent by the shape and footprint of your dining room and may mean a separate table and chairs aren’t workable. Instead a split-level peninsular may suit the space and still achieve the social focal point you have in mind. Weigh up a variety of options: a full table, breakfast bar or a small perch point on the end of a run of cabinets. The dining element could even be a full feature area, stretching along the back of an island.

35. Introduce color and pattern with fabric

Dining room with red chairs and teal walls

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

'Chairs, rugs and window treatments are a great way to introduce color and character to a dining room, so pops of color and a mix of materials will add some personality to the interior,' says Head of Retail & Commercial Design at Life Kitchens (opens in new tab), Graeme Smith.

36. Create the right ambience in your dining room

Grey dining room with small round table

(Image credit: Future / Jan Baldwin)

‘If you’re using also using the dining room as a work space, we’d recommend you install recessed dowlighters for brightness,’ says Chris Jordan, Managing Director at Christoper Wray Lighting (opens in new tab). ‘Directional downlighter are best for diverting the light to where it is needed most.’ For a flexible, layered effect put all your lighting on dimmers and separate circuits.

37. Bring texture to the dining room with natural materials

Dining room with wooden chairs, table and patterned rug

(Image credit: Future / Michael Sinclair)

A wood-rich dining room creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere, as we've already mentioned above. However, you can max out this effect by not just choosing wooden flooring and furniture, but by choosing wooden panelling ideas for walls, too. 

For anyone looking for modern dining room ideas, the fluted panelling style above is the perfect way to introduce wood in a contemporary way, with the vertical lines creating a neat visual trick, too, of making the room's ceiling look higher. 

38. Consider dining room storage

Traditional dining room ideas with wooden furniture and white walls

(Image credit: Future / Ngoc Minh Ngo)

If your dining room is on the bijou side, go for unity when selecting storage. A mishmash of furniture styles will create discord and, as the space will probably be used for entertaining, it should be as calm and inviting as possible. 

Opting for built-in pieces and making the most of recesses are good ways to achieve a clutter-free look. ‘You could have open shelves to display ornate items and practical custom-built drawers for cutlery and tableware,’ says Alan Borra, Designer at Neville Johnson (opens in new tab).

39. Retain an open-plan feel

Dining room with grey chairs, wooden table, white walls and shelving

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

‘Think about what you will use the dining room for,’ says Pam Cox, owner of Ham Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘If it will be almost entirely dedicated to dining, it’s crucial to leave enough room between the seating and other furniture to allow people to get to and from the table with ease. 

'Where space is limited, you may have to sacrifice storage to retain an open feel. Attempting to squeeze in too much could detract from the overall look and function of the space, so consider what is really necessary.’

40. Pick traditional lighting and furniture to add character

White dining room with antique dining chairs and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

‘Bear in mind that people tend to be seated in a dining room so the lighting must be at eye level be effective,’ says Lucy Martin, Design Director at John Cullen (opens in new tab). ‘Wall lights, picture lights and lamps will help to achieve a soft, intermediate intensity. Lighting should also be sufficiently bright for guests to see and to enjoy the food and conversation, so make it adjustable via dimmers.’ 

Opt for a pendant light, too, as a dining room looks best with a focal point over the table. It needs to be carefully positioned; too high and the light won’t illuminate the table, too low and you could obstruct the views of your guests.

41. Choose pale colors for a breakfast dining room

White dining room with window seat and wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

If you are searching for dining room ideas for a space you will mainly use for breakfast or lunch, picking fresh, pale colors will make it an inspiring space to be. To keep the room light, pick furniture that's delicate, streamlined and even translucent – this is particularly important if you are looking for small dining room ideas.

42. Frame the dining table with an accent wall

Dining room with mural by Fromental wallcoverings

(Image credit: Future/Jon Day)

Accent wall ideas are really useful in dining rooms if you can use them on the wall opposite the door to the space to frame the dining table in a dramatic way. 

In this dining room, styled for a Homes & Gardens decorating shoot by Alyce Taylor, Fromental (opens in new tab)’s Braque wallpaper is layered with painted chairs to create an intricately intriguing space.

Charu Gandhi, Founder and Director of UK-based interior design studio Elicyon (opens in new tab), has used Fromental designs in her projects. She says: ‘Wallpaper can bring the perfect depth and materiality to space, both when the room is bijoux and when it has scale. Start by what you want the wallpaper to celebrate or tackle, then the tone and scale, and on to the pattern and detail.'

43. Create a formal dining room with symmetry

Dining room with orange wallpaper, white dining furniture and dark wood elsewhere

(Image credit: Future/Michael Sinclair)

Symmetry in interior design is used to create balance, calm and neatness. If you are creating a dining room that you want to feel formal, you can use this interior design device to make your room elegant and smart. 

‘Symmetry provides balance within a room and it often starts from the focal point, whether that be a fireplace in the sitting room or the headboard in a bedroom,' says Liv Wallers from British design studio, Yellow London (opens in new tab). 'It can be used right down to the smaller details of the room, cushions on the sofa to lamps on a dresser.’

Here, the starting point is the window, with the rug and dining table using it as a central point.

44. Embrace cottagecore for a relaxed dining room 

Country dining room with orange tablecloth

(Image credit: Future / David Brittain)

The Swedish house trend is, we predict, an enduringly popular look that's a sophisticated combination of vintage and country styles. It's perfect for a dining room and will work in contemporary spaces just as well as in country cottages or period homes. Ideally, choose colors that are reflective of nature – warmer shades like those in the room above are wonderful for creating a welcoming dining room, especially one that might be north-facing and that receives little natural daylight. 

45. Display your favorite china 

Grey dining room with alcove shelving unit and grey walls

(Image credit: Future / Alexander James)

Displaying china is one way to add interest and color to a dining room, plus of course, it can solve a kitchen storage problem in one hit. Combine the china with other favorite objets, including sculpture, glassware and even books, for a look that's carefully curated.

46. Keep to a fresh palette of green and white

Green dining room ideas with wooden table and patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee)

It’s one of nature’s favorite color combinations and this classic pairing looks every bit as good inside. Use fabrics and accessories in a palette of apple, mint and emerald perfectly evoke the distinctive charm of England’s verdant landscape, a great option for green dining room ideas.

47. Put it on display

Dining room with green color scheme

(Image credit: Jason Ingram)

When not in use, dining tables make for the most wonderful display surfaces. With a little effort they can be transformed into a mini exhibition space for gathered collectibles, which can then be whisked away when the table is called into action for entertaining. 

Ben Pentreath (opens in new tab) demonstrates how to best dress a ‘resting’ table in this scheme that he designed for a flat in Chelsea, London. The bottle green French velvet that covers the white gesso framed Louis XVI chairs is picked up by the collection of glass candlesticks and resin lamp bases on the table and the dresser behind. Also important to this room is the display of artwork on the walls; the symmetrical arrangement brings order and structure.

48. Enjoy the view with a window seat

Dining room with banquette seating

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

Banquettes not only provide ample seating, but also take up less space than chairs. ‘When designing banquettes we like to maximize space by adding storage,’ says interior designer Rebecca Hughes (opens in new tab). ‘It’s also an opportunity to add pattern through scatter cushions.’

49. Take a flexible approach with a round table

Dining room ideas with round table

(Image credit: Studio Ashby / Brotherton Lock)

Circular tables are space-saving and ideal for corners or in smaller open-plan rooms, as demonstrated in this design by Sophie Ashby of Studio Ashby (opens in new tab) and architect Giles Quarme (opens in new tab). ‘This is somewhere you can entertain, work or just read the paper and relax,’ says Sophie.

50. Raise the bar

Dining room with bar area

(Image credit: Mary Wadworth)

‘Introducing a bar area within a dining room not only creates the perfect opportunity for after dinner drinks, but on a more practical level it adds useful storage to conceal the less decorative and more habitually used tableware and practical accessories,’ says Clara Ewart, head of design at Kitesgrove (opens in new tab)

‘Painting the joinery in the same color as the walls creates a sleek and minimalist look, one that does not distract the eye away from the design of the rest of the space,’ she adds. Opting for a dark and moody color, such as the rich blue shade used here, results in an impactful and contrasting backdrop for favorite glassware or serveware or a collection of decorative objects.

51. Add decorative dining room lighting

Traditional dining room with pendant light and wood table

(Image credit: Emma Sims Hilditch)

A dining room is a great space to incorporate statement pendant lighting. ‘We often advise clients to be brave with scale, especially in rooms with high ceilings,’ says interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch. ‘This fills the space and adds an element of drama.’

How can I decorate my dining room?

'Think carefully about how you intend to use the space,' advises Graeme Smith, Senior Designer at Second Nature (opens in new tab) and 1909 Kitchens (opens in new tab). 'Is the dining area for informal snacks, having a coffee and reading the paper? Or will it be the key meeting point in the home where family congregate for meals or perhaps doubling as a place to catch up on paperwork?'

Invest in the best tableware you can afford, but don’t be seduced by unnecessary pieces; just buy what you need for your style of entertaining. Select dual-purpose items; for example a soup plate can also be used for pasta. Above all, choose what you love and collect slowly. That way, you will enjoy your tableware for life.

'If you want to mix and match tableware, key items such as linen and charger plates should remain constant as you experiment with the color, shape and pattern of china,’ explains Clifford Williams, Display Manager at Thomas Goode (opens in new tab). ‘The current trend is for an eclectic mix with a sense of “organized chaos."’

Paint and wallpaper are great ways to give your dining space character and personality. According to interior designer Roselind Wilson (opens in new tab). 'A good way to create an intimate space for dining is to choose a rich, opulent color palette and use it on the ceiling too.’

What furniture do you put in a dining room?

Be fussy with furniture, especially in a compact dining room. Furniture can be a cumbersome business, especially in small rooms so it pays to arrange and buy items correctly.

One great way to make the most of a smaller space is by using multi-function furniture, like an extendable dining table, folding chairs, or chairs that can be neatly tucked under the table when not in use.

Another important pointer is to place large pieces of furniture against walls so the open space in the middle is not broken up. Scale the furniture to fit the size of the room and don’t block walking pathways – if you can see the floor, the room will look larger. 

A great tip is to choose a dining table and chairs with open arms and exposed legs, both will keep the appearance of a much more open and free space, allowing light to filter under and around the furniture far easier.

In smaller homes, where space is tight, you might consider extending a worktop to create a breakfast bar or introduce a small circular table for informal dining.

How do you light a dining room?

Lighting is an immediate and effective zoning option for a dining room. It’s another tool that segments the different functionality of the space.

'Consider using soft but effective under lighting in the dining room, which allows sufficient light to put the final touches to one's food, but is discreet enough not to dominate,' advises Julie Paul, Head of Interior Design, OKA (opens in new tab). 'Try a mixture of striking pendant lights, chic floor lamps and colorful table lights.’